Underwhelmed by engineering? Why am I not surprised.
One very educated gent I know asserts that the worst thing that ever happened to engineering was the advent of CAD/CAM programs. You no longer get a guy, who simply HAS to think about the job as he draws it out ... you get a guy who makes a few mouse clicks. Sure, you get the prints faster, but they're filled with errors.
Even prior to the computer age, I was distressed by what I considered an over-emphasis on handbooks and generic drawings. For all the emphasis engineering school places on math .... I doubt most engineers ever use a calculator after graduation (unless it's at tax time!) I do know the the last several I've spoken to have completely lost any understanding of calculus that they once had - pretty amazing, considering the emphasis on calculus in engineering courses.
Changing direction for a moment: In the past several jobs, I have been amazed at the 'special inspections' required by the city. Framing issues that, in the past, were easily handled by a journeyman carpenter now require an engineers' evaluation, and special inspection. It seems that if you vary by one iota from a standard handbook print, they want reams of documentation on every detail.
Parallel with this change, the city no longer has trade-experienced inspectors. Rather, there is a legion of seminar-educated "certified inspectors." The emphasis is on paperwork - not trade practices. Or, for that matter, proper design and engineering. It's all about the paperwork.